By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari has performed the ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction activities on the Kano-Kaduna segment of the Lagos- Kano Railway Modernization project.
The event which was held on Thursday (15th July 2021) took place at the proposed site of the Kano Railway Station, Kano which is also adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port.
“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of the Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this Administration in the revival of Nigerian Railway system, to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” President Buhari said.
He pointed out that the ground breaking ceremony for Kano – Kaduna segment of the Lagos – Kano railway modernization project signifies an important milestone of the construction of the third segment, having completed and commenced commercial operation on the first segment Abuja–Kaduna and recently the second segment Lagos-Ibadan.
He stressed that the project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The President stated that the Kaduna-Kano railway project is to link the Lagos–Ibadan Railway project via Abuja, Minna, Ilorin, Oshogbo, Ibadan to Lagos on one end, and Maradi, Niger Republic on the other.
He explained that this railway connection when completed will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.
“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation,” he said.
He reitetated that the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements to partner with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) for the development of the Ibadan–Kano line and to further increase the bankability of the project.
As he highlighted, the railway line will be linked to the second Port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island Port, noting that it is also expected that the Inland Dry Port on these routes will be activated and the ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination such as the Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano Inland Dry Ports.
He said that his administration recognizes rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority it deserves, and that it is not surprising that several landmarks have been achieved, from the flag off for commercial operation of Abuja–Kaduna railway in 2016 to the recent commissioning of the Lagos– Ibadan railway project on June 10 2021, thereby maintaining the pace for the actualization of this vital thoroughfare.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, for his focus and resolve that represents the drive of the government in railway infrastructure development.
“I wish also to commend his team both in the Ministry and other project implementation partners that are contributing to this national effort,” President Buhari said.